Do you know how to stay hidden when you’re in the middle of the woods?
Whether you’re out hunting or you’re fleeing from attackers, knowing how to conceal yourself is an important survival skill. You can do this through camouflage, which is anything that you use to disguise yourself, your equipment, and position.
Here are several rules that you have to follow when it comes to personal camouflage to fool the most common sensor on the battlefield: The human eye. (h/t to ISurvivalSkills.Blogspot.com)
- Color – While designed to make concealment easier, camouflage can still stand out in certain settings. A pattern with browns, dull reds, and grays are perfect when fighting in built-up areas. When fighting in a more natural setting, use local vegetation to conceal your uniform and gear. Check and replace your camouflage regularly. To conceal your skin, use a G.I. camo stick or a commercial camo cream. Use loam and light green camo sticks when in areas with green vegetation and a sand and light green stick in locations without green vegetation. When you’re in a snowy area, use a loam and white stick. When applying camo to your face, get help from a partner. Camo sticks are rough on the skin and they may be difficult to apply. For easier camo application, apply some baby oil or skin lotion first. Don’t forget to reapply your skin camo periodically.
- Shape – Your gear and weapons have definite shapes, such as squares, that don’t occur naturally in nature. One workaround for this is to break up straight lines with brown or green strips of burlap, camo cloth, or netting. Sew elastic bands onto your uniform or equipment straps so you can add camo strips or vegetation. Lastly, cover your weapon with paint or camouflage tape.
- Shine – A lot of modern military equipment have plastic parts or subdued painted metal fasteners and buckles. But if the paint has worn off or you’re using commercial equipment with shiny buckles, cover them with paint or tape. Hide equipment with shiny surfaces, like compasses or binoculars, when they’re not needed. Use them with caution to avoid giving away your location. Your skin can also shine, even at night, and it might reflect flares and moonlight.
- Silhouette – Like shape, silhouette involves the outline of the human form and any equipment you’re carrying. The shape of a human head and shoulders are hard to miss, and a bare helmet is also easy to spot. Use local vegetation to conceal your silhouette, like thick handfuls of grass tucked into your shoulder straps. Add some branches to your helmet to “break” the smooth curve of the top and the straight line of the brim, but don’t use too much vegetation. Remember that silhouette also includes field craft. Your camouflage will be useless if you walk along the top of a hill or ridgeline, which will give away your hiding spot. (Related: In plain sight: How to stay hidden during a crisis.)
- Smell – Smells common in an urban setting become more obvious in the open. While some smells are hard to conceal, you can use scent-free soaps to minimize the odors that you emit. Cook during the day so the smell of food can mingle with other stronger smells. Discard trash away from your operational area, or bury your trash only if you have no other way of getting rid of it. Animals may dig up buried objects, and this can give your position away.
- Sound – It’s impossible to avoid making any noise when you’re patrolling, and even conversations between two people can carry for long distances. Silence your gear by taping things down and moving stealthily. Get used to a silent routine and use hand signals instead of talking out loud.
While good marksmanship is a crucial skill for any prepper or soldier, good camouflage is just as important. Follow these rules to improve your camouflage and concealment skills so you can have an easier time when you’re in combat or hunting out in the woods.
Fast facts on camouflage face paints
- Camouflage face paints are designed to provide camouflage protection and meet “soldier acceptability and safety criteria.”
- Design criteria for camouflage face paints include appearance, comfort in application and wearing, compatibility to clothing and other equipment, durability over time, ease of application and removal, and resistance to perspiration.
- Ideally, face paint doesn’t hinder the natural sensing capabilities of the person wearing it. Face paint should be nearly odorless and it mustn’t cause any health hazards like skin irritation.
You can read more articles about how you can stay conceal yourself outdoors at Preparedness.news.